“Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.” Romans 12:12
Whether this is your first marriage or second, marrying someone who already has children is quite the life challenge. Many days it’s rewarding and wonderful, but if we are to be honest it is STILL a challenge. I don’t think you’d be reading this right now if you weren’t faced with some obstacles, and I know I would not be writing and sharing with you had I not faced some of the same obstacles. Thankfully, our roads converge today and we can be open and honest about one of the greatest emotional mountains you will climb.
Most romantic relationships and marriages go through a “honeymoon phase”. The length of this blissful time when you and your partner are converging lives could be a few months or a few years. When you immediately add a child that is not biologically connected to the both of you, often hurdles are in your path right away, and the starry eyes see reality. Some days you will soar over them with grace, and some days you will be bandaging wounds. But, your attitude towards the hurdles and what you learn from them can plant seeds of growth in your marriage or foster bitter resentments. Attitude also determines your effectiveness as a stepparent. Let’s face it, attitude has the ability to determine our quality of LIFE!
I’m sure there’s a key word that keeps popping in your research and devotions. That powerful and oh so important word is – COMMUNICATION. Along with prayer and a constructive attitude needs to be some quality talking time with your partner. To be blunt, if you aren’t making time and really LISTENING to each other, you are building the foundation of your relationship on sand. The very nature of blended families craves a rock-solid foundation for survival. This takes both of you.
There’s so much intimacy in understanding what your partner is going through. As much as we want to be heard, our partner wants to have a voice as well. Speaking for my own situation, there was a definite grieving period my husband experienced when his child no longer lived with him full-time. He loved his little boy, and losing a daily connection to his son for a while was troubling for him.
He also was fresh out of an emotionally draining divorce process that included child custody, child support, and alimony proceedings. There’s little time to mourn the loss of a marriage when the best interest of a child needs to be the focus of attention. Sometimes he was “distant” and I didn’t understand. I tried to fill the silence in the air and fill the void in his heart. Time would teach me that he was still processing so much change, just like all of us in the dynamic were trying to do. Time also would reveal that the void would remain, but years of love would promote healing, joyful memories would solidify our bond, and I would hold a very significant and important place in his heart AND our family.
I ask that you take today and focus on you and the love of your life, your sweetheart. Your spouse should be the most important person on earth to you, and vice versa. Honoring and loving Christ first and your marriage next before all others is the best way to honor and love your children.
What mistakes do you not want to repeat in your relationship that happened in your previous relationship?
What role do you see yourself playing long-term in the life of your stepchild(ren)?
Where are you and you partner making great strides together? What areas do you want to ask God for guidance?